Sunday, May 22, 2011

I hate typed sighs

But I exhaled audibly when I read James Gill's column today:
So many voters had pegged Ray Nagin for a doofus by 2006 that he could barely raise a dollar for his re-election campaign.
There can be little doubt that we'd all have been better off had Nagin lost. It is highly unlikely, for instance, that Landrieu would have wrecked Armstrong Park by entrusting its renovation to a company owned by a felon and staffed by incompetents. Get rid of Nagin, the concrete gets poured properly and Satchmo's statue keeps all his toes.
If Meffert and St. Pierre did push Nagin over the top in that election, they bear a more terrible responsibility than one ruined park. Without Nagin, there would have been no Ed Blakely to screw up the Katrina recovery.
Meffert and St. Pierre were cock-a-hoop when Nagin was re-elected, but they must now rue the day. They could never have dug themselves into this deep a hole if we hadn't had a doofus for mayor.

James Gill wishes Nagin hadn't been re-elected, but "doofus" is the worst name he can call Nagin -- he still can't bring himself to question Nagin's integrity. I guess the poor doofus was just led astray by the suave, smooth-talking Greg Meffert.

One problem with that theory is that we've heard it before. In early 2005, the local press began to question Nagin's integrity, but quickly decided he had been taken advantage of by Charles Rice and his "Billy Carter brother-in-law". Billboard Ben isn't the only forgotten man in this story.

At any rate, prior to Katrina, the local press corps, including James Gill, knew that there had been ethical lapses within the Nagin Administration but somehow decided that Nagin was not personally involved. After Katina, questions about Nagin's personal integrity were, for some reason, off limits, and it would be at least a couple of years before local journalists even questioned the integrity of Nagin's associates.

How did that doofus get re-elected?

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